July 16, 2013

Corker: Improving Embassy Security Requires Accountability and Setting Priorities

WASHINGTON - During a Foreign Relations Committee today on improving security at U.S. embassies overseas following last year’s deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., reiterated his concerns about the lack of accountability regarding State Department officials who were placed on paid leave despite their involvement in security failures that preceded the attack. 

“We had…four people that have been put on leave and are still being paid…And I just wonder if you might address that also, because you build great facilities, you train well, but if people don't execute and there's not that accountability, we still have breakdowns and people are in situations that they shouldn't be in,” Corker said in questioning Greg Starr, head of diplomatic security at the State Department

He also questioned whether funding for new embassy construction is being prioritized for high threat areas.

“I see that we're spending a huge amount of money…in places that, candidly, the security issues are not necessarily urgent like we have in some of the places I mentioned earlier -- in Pakistan and Sudan. So, it just seems to me that, from the standpoint of the immediate security issues…our priorities are not aligned with what it is we're hoping to do for our outstanding foreign service officers,” said Corker.

For archived footage of the hearing and witness testimony, click here.